Child Maintenance Appeals
We provide support and guidance for HM Courts and Tribunal proceedings.
Disputing a child maintenance decision may need an application to HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTs) which form part of the Ministry of Justice. To lodge a child support appeal, a particular process has to be followed, but once proceedings commence the Tribunal will investigate circumstances to a far greater depth than CSA or CMS. The process is long, and challenging - but we can help!
Tribunal proceedings are similar to other court processes and require appropriate participation and preparation. It is vital that you seek help and advice about child support law during the Tribunal process. There are strict time frames in which to comply with requests, and a degree of information may have to be submitted prior to any hearing.
The matter is heard by a Tribunal Judge and in some circumstances a Financially Qualified Panel Member will also be present.. The objective is to establish if the decision made by CSA or CMS is correct in law. Any evidence submitted, as part of the proceedings, including personal financial information, must be issued to all parties. (exception can be given to certain medical evidence).
There are no appeal rights against child support debt!
Only certain decisions have the right of appeal. Letters regarding child support arrears, and the enforcement of such debt is not a decision. There is no right of appeal against those notifications.
You cannot appeal on the basis that you cannot afford to pay the maintenance assessed.
A 'Decision’ made by CSA/CMS may be either;
- A Maintenance Assessment/Calculation
- A Refusal to revise or Supersede an existing Assessment/Calculation.
- A Variation or Departure Decision
- A Refusal to complete a Variation or Departure Decision.
- There are appeal rights against Paternity, but these are dealt with by a Magistrate Court and not HMCTs.
- There are limited appeal rights against a Deduction from Earnings Order, but these are also dealt with by a Magistrate Court.
If you receive a ‘Decision’ and you believe the information used is incorrect you must contact the Child Support Agency or Child Maintenance Service, in writing within one month to request a Mandatory Reconsideration. The details of the dispute is considered and an official Mandatory Reconsideration Notice will be issued.
It is the Mandatory Reconsideration Notice that provides the right of appeal to HMCTs.